Forest 44 Conservation Area

Driving Directions

Near the intersection of I-44 and Highway 141 in St. Louis County, take Meramec Station Road off Highway 141 west 1 mile, then left on Hillsboro Road 0.50 mile to the area entrance.


This area is mostly forest with a staffed firearms range and a permanent stream (Williams Creek).

About This Area

Forest 44 is in west St. Louis County. To reach the area take Highway 141 south from I-44 to Meramec Station Road, which is the first stoplight. Turn right (west) and drive 0.9 mile to Hillsboro Road. Turn left and go 0.4 mile to the area parking lot. The 998-acre area borders I-44 for three miles.

This tract once was part of a 10,000-acre cattle ranch. The Conservation Department purchased the area in 1990 from the heirs of the Reinken Estate. One more aquisition of 40 acres was acquired by a partial donation and is known as the Dorothy E. Aselman Memorial Addition (see area map).

This rugged forestland is situated on the northeastern most extension of the Ozark uplift and contains plants and animals typical of Ozark ecology.

Situated on the outskirts of a large population center, Forest 44 Conservation Area offers a unique opportunity for urban dwellers to escape the rigors of the city and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

Several springs feed Williams Creek, which flows along the eastern portion of the area. Flowering dogwood and redbud trees add to the area's natural beauty, especially in the springtime. Hiking, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding are popular activities.

The area offers the Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center for public use.  Directions to the shooting range: Take I-44 west to Beaumont/ Antire Road, exit 269 go left over I-44 to Antire Road. Turn right on Antire Road. Go one hundred feet to entrance and turn left into driveway, across from commuter parking lot.

General Information

St. Louis

Saint Louis


Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  There is a good opportunity to view for open field and forest birds. Especially good for winter bird viewing. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Demonstrations  The disabled accessible Losing Stream Trail goes to a viewing platform which overlooks examples of native vegetation that prefer moist sites.   
Hiking   The 2.2 mile long Dogwood Ridge Trail offers spectacular views of flowering dogwood in the spring and showcases various forest management practices such as woodland and forest restoration and bush honeysuckle removal.  
Horseback Riding  Excellent opportunity for riding on approximately 11.8 miles of loop trails. Skill level is easy-difficult.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. Only during Special Managed Hunts. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Other  Staffed Shooting Range 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
OtheraccessibleJay Henges Shooting Range & Outdoor Ed. Center  Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center. Fully staffed range at Exit 269 off Hwy. 44. Pistol range, rifle range, shotgun patterning, field and stationary archery (not disabled accessible), including a 4-point bullseye archery range and a walk through 3-D archery range, 3 trap fields, restrooms, and Education Facility.  
Parking Lotaccessible   Includes a gravel parking lot with a concrete pad at Hillsboro Road, a concrete lot at the Education Center and at the rifle range at Henges Shooting Range.  
Privy/Restroomaccessible  There are two restrooms at the Henges Shooting Range: one is in the Educational Classroom and the other is near the rifle range adjacent to the observation booth. There is also a privy in the gravel parking lot off of Hillsboro Road.  

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishless Pond  10 1.00 acres  
Stream - Intermittent  1.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent  1.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Williams Creek 1.00 miles Along eastern side  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 902.66  
Grassland (non-prairie) 44.00  
Other 11.00  
Total Area Acres:957.66 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Losing Stream Trail (Easy)accessibleDisabled-Accessible Trail 0.40 
Dogwood Ridge Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 2.20 
Multi-use trail system (Moderate) Multi-Use (Hike/Horse) 11.80 

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Shooting Range General Information







Click Shooting Ranges for more information.

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